(October 8, 2019 / JNS) References to Israel, the Jewish people and peace have been removed from 2019-20 Palestinian Authority textbooks, according to a recent study.
The study, which was carried out by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), states that the changes in P.A. textbooks for grades one through 12 represent radicalization and are “a clear deterioration in content,” and that the textbooks now fail to meet UNESCO standards.
IMPACT-se, which tracks educational material in the Middle East, found that the only signed peace agreement between Israel and the P.A. still mentioned in the textbooks (and now covered less favorably and in less detail than previous versions) is the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Whereas older textbooks mentioned Jerusalem as the Jewish capital in the ancient period, any mention of Jewish presence and ancient Jewish history in the land—or to the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem—has been removed, with textbooks now representing Jewish holy places as Muslim sites usurped by “Zionists.”
The term “Jewish state,” which had previously appeared in a map showing partitions and armistice lines, has also been removed. The name “Israel,” too, now appears substantially fewer times throughout the textbooks, which now more often refer to the “colonialist occupiers,” “Zionist Occupation,” “The Occupation,” “Israeli Occupation,” “The Zionists” and “The Zionist Entity.”
Among other topics removed include PLO statements calling for peace, coexistence and nonviolence.
For example, where a previous textbook version stated: “The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability,” current ones now state: “Forcing the Zionist Occupation to recognize the PLO after the first intifada in 1987 contributed to the return of PLO cadres and institutions in 1994 to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Additions to the new textbooks include “a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in a more extensive and sophisticated manner, embracing a full spectrum of extreme nationalist ideas and Islamist ideologies that extend even into the teaching of mathematics and science, including physics, chemistry and biology,” according to the study.
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